Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Project Z redux

A couple of years ago, I started working on the lifestyle habit of getting more sleep. I called it Project Z. I went to bed by 10pm, and got up at 6am or so - if I deviated from that, I tried to make sure I got 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep. The change in how I felt and functioned at work was dramatic. I managed to maintain it for about 9 months, and then, it spun out, maybe because of my crappy job last year, maybe because I got slack, less vigilant, who knows? My hypothesis is that because I worked long days, I was staying up later, sometimes to do schoolwork (especially during grading periods) but sometimes to catch up on life, or pleasurable downtime; knitting, reading, watching tv. Then summer came, the knee dislocation came and I got less exercise, which further screwed up my sleep; less tired, I sleep less, but become more tired, if that makes sense.

So I'm taking it back!! Project Z will ride again!! I've been a fervent reader of Leo Babauta's Zen Habits blog, and have been struck anew by his emphasis on making small changes that turn into big changes over time. I did a lot of reflection on what needs to improve right now in my life...more exercise, less internet surfing, better eating, more knitting, cleaner house, more time outside, finding a job I like, getting a better handle on Cricket's behavior, daily yoga practice, fewer cupcakes, more consistent spiritual practice, reading more, spinning better, blogging, being better at composting from the kitchen, saving more $$ for retirement, oh the list is endless! Leo wrote that in his experience, picking ONE THING to work on til it became a good habit - about 4 to 6 weeks, and then maintaining that one, worked better than making a lot of little changes that don't really stick, because you spread yourself too thin. I think that's a good point. I think the change in the way I felt a few days into Project Z was SO big that I really want to reinstate this positive practice.

Now practically speaking, this is a tough week to start such a thing. For one, Ms. Acornbud is headed my way in just a couple days. No way are we not gonna stay up late, and even though I anticipate her jet lag might make her sleep in, I can't guarantee that. For another, we're headed to Asheville, NC for SAFF, and rooming with my sis and Jessie, and I don't see the four of us tucking in early in a hotel room this weekend. So I'm gonna just try and focus on being well-rested in a catch as catch can way, and then, next Tuesday, when I'm home alone again (and this will be a sad thing) I'm gonna put my ass into bed at 9:30, with the knowledge that I certainly won't sleep at 9:30, but will probably knit or read instead. I think, for the time being, I'm not going to let myself nap, mostly because I think it contributes to the further jacking up of my circadian rhythms. So this Project Z is the thing I'm gonna focus on from now til about December 1, to see if I can reset my sleep. I forsee some bumps in the road, with P's returns to the ATL, and Thanksgiving and such, but overall, I spend most of my time home alone, and most of schedule is my own to control.

I feel like I needed to write it down here because I want to hold myself accountable for actually starting to make this change, but reading other peoples' writing about personal changes can be dull, so I offer you a couple of other things to contemplate:
Autumn is coming to Georgia, ready or not. I am ready to dispense with the heat, and have been really enjoying our 80 degree days, as opposed to our 95 degree days. Tomorrow, it is supposed to be only about 60, though, so that will be a fast forward into fall. Not sure I'm ready for that.

Behold the amazing thing that is Hanami. Completed, blocking in my spare bedroom. What a long strange knit that turned out to be. I love it, but am honestly not sure how much I'll wear it. It seems too fancy. But still...Hanami!!

Time for oatmeal and some laundry.


Hippy Chick said...

The Hanami is gorgeous! I think you should wear it just because, no need for anything fancy.

I love your Project Z decision. Good for you and may you enjoy your rest and time spent relaxing.

Anonymous said...

I resonate with almost all of your current life projects - especially getting more sleep. I am currently working off a sleep debt more than a year long, so I have a while to go, but I can already feel the positive effects on my life.

I'm also looking forward to this weekend! :)

Acornbud said...

Hanami is beautiful! I'm bringing mine:) I'm so excited about experiencing fall again. Tis the season of acorns, is it not? I look forward to seeing you and of course he poodles and meeting Brenda and Jesse.

Chelsea said...

Your Hanami is lovely!

I have lots of things I'd like to improve in my life (doesn't everyone?), and it seems like focusing on one at a time might indeed be more effective. I think I'm going to go peruse that blog...